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Suzuki factory on lockdown

2012-07-22 16:26

ATTACK ON SUZUKI MANAGEMENT: Twenty-four senior managers are still in hospital with injuries, mainly fractures of their arms and legs, of the 96 initially admitted after a riot hit a factoy in Suzuki (above). No workers were injured during the


Suzuki SA supplied a new Suzuki Grand Vitara to a team for the annual 'Put Foot' rally that takes South African shoes to less-privileged children across Africa - and has some fun in the process.

NEW DELHI, India - Suzki chairman Maruti Suzuki, says he has no idea when the automaker's Indian factory will re-open following a deadly riot.

The chairman said that it was impossible to import extra vehicles or shift lost production to another plant.

Suzuki, India's biggest automaker, stopped production at a factory in the north of the country after a manager was killed and scores injured by a mob of workers.


The workers attacked officials, smashed equipment and set fire to parts of the plant.

Trade unionists have accused Maruti of "anti-union" activities at the plant.

Suzuki spokesman RC Bhargava said: "We cannot start production due to a danger to life and safety. We will not endanger our people any further.

"How long it will take? 10 days? 15 days? I don't know. We'll put all our resources to study and help the authorities but ... I cannot say when we will be able to restart the plant."

The Manesar factory, with a total annual capacity of 550 000 cars, is likely to stay closed for at least two weeks, analysts told Reuters, at a cost to the company of around R124-million a day.

Bhargava said: "We would be very inefficient if we take six months. We'll request the Haryana government to expedite the investigation."

Suzuki, which builds its best-selling Swift hatchback at Manesar, will not be able to offset some of the lost production with imports or by increasing productivity at its other factory, Bhargava said.

More than R4.7-billion was wiped off Maruti's market value in July 2012 when its shares slid to their biggest one-day drop in two years. Shares of parent Suzuki fell a total of 5.7% in trading to their lowest level in three and a half years.

Workers at the plant attacked senior officials with iron rods, wooden sticks and unfinished car parts. Police are investigating the factory's entire 3000-strong workforce and are seeking to press murder charges.

Bhargava said: "In my wildest dreams, I never thought that a day would come like this, when our own workers would indulge in this kind of rioting and mob violence...leading to the burning to death of one senior officer.

The riot began after an altercation between workers and managers over a disciplinary incident involving a single worker. The factory's workers' union has accused Maruti officials of starting the violence and using hired thugs to beat workers.

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